Audre Lorde: Poetry Is Not A Luxury


I’m not sure if anyone else remembers, but this is the essay that changed poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero’s life. After meeting one of the most inspirational women I’ve met in my life, I had to read what she said helped transform her into who she is today. This essay is absolutely breath-taking and I strongly suggest that everyone read it at one point in your life, if not now. I have read and re-read this essay at least 7 times, and each time, there is something new to be discovered.  Lorde addresses something that is so truthful and so hidden, but so vital to our existence.

When I first heard the title, I couldn’t understand what she was insinuating. I read the title and thought to myself, Poetry isn’t a necessity for me, and it most certainly is a luxury for some people. After reading the essay, I understand that for some people it may not be poetry that is not our luxury, but a different art form. The “poetry” Lorde speaks of is the passion that keeps us thriving in spite of our struggles. We shape and transform our dark and hidden sides into a masterpiece that we need to survive. For example, my best friend’s passion is dance. She lives, breathes, and struggles through dance. She has danced for more than ten years of her short life, and she has grown with it. Dance is the water she needs to survive; she can not live without it.

Reading this was one of those experiences where you think to yourself I am in the right place at the right time. I had a similar feeling to when I listen to music and the lyrics are surprisingly relevant to my life at the time. She speaks of the strengths and struggles that we endure as people, and more so women. Poetry is both Lorde and Guerrero’s passion and I am very excited to find my own. Lorde acknowledges that our passions are our savior in life and I agree 110%.